SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — New rules for asylum seekers that are set to go into effect on Jan. 11 are expected to make the process especially tough for LGBTQ refugees.

Refugees will have to prove they are being persecuted or prosecuted by their governments or an agency serving the government simply based on who they are.

Some say this will be almost impossible to do.

“The Trump administration is pretending to follow the law, but actually it is changing the rules,” said Jennifer Pizer, an attorney with Lambda Legal. “The new rules say it has to be by government or by officials working like police acting at the discretion of the government in court persecuting, that’s ridiculous.”

Pizer says her firm, which is an advocate for the LGBTQ community and people with HIV, has filed a lawsuit to keep these new rules from being applied.

“Together with co-council Immigration Equality, we are suing the Trump administration today to try and stop the implementation of these rules,” said Pizer. “These rule changes are one more example of an effort to slam and lock the doors contrary to U.S. law that is why we are suing.”

The new rules were proposed in June. And unless the courts step in, they will go into effect nine days before President Trump leaves office.

The administration has blocked asylum seekers for various reasons including “saving jobs for American workers,” and to “prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Jennifer Pfizer is an attorney working for Lambda Legal. (Salvador Rivera/Border Report)

Other provisions include:

  • Making it harder to pass the “credible fear” screening at the border.
  • Letting immigration judges deny asylum without a hearing.
  • Severely narrowing the definition of key terms like “political opinion,” “persecution,” and “particular social group.”
  • Barring asylum for people who traveled through more than one country on their way to the U.S.
  • Restricting the types of evidence that asylum seekers may present.
  • Letting immigration judges label many more asylum applications as “frivolous”—which has serious negative consequences for people who seek other immigration protections.
  • Restricting eligibility for protection based on a fear of torture.

Many refugees have been forced to wait out the asylum process in Mexico or have been sent to their country’s of origin.

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